Bonnie Lou Ladin
Bonnie Lou Ladin was born in Los Angeles. She graduated from the University of California at Santa Cruz, and she received a master's degree in Russian studies from San Francisco State University.
She spent two years in New York as an AmeriCorps volunteer, working on welfare rights before deciding she wanted to be a baker. Working at a Safeway bakery in San Francisco in the late 1970s, Bonnie realized that she could combine her passions for bakery work and social activism as a union member, spurring her decision to become a labor organizer.
Bonnie was hired in 1979 by legendary SEIU organizer and leader Elinor Glenn. During the next 30 years, Bonnie focused her life on using her talent for helping members and staff to fully develop their abilities. As an organizer in California, her talent was recognized and she rose to serve in several SEIU leadership positions, including Office Worker Division Director, “Dignity” Nursing Home Organizing Campaign Director, and Healthcare Division Director. She spent her last years developing the next generation of organizers in her work as an educator at the National Labor College.
Bonnie was an “organizer’s organizer.” Her leadership and passion for social justice throughout her life resulted in winning countless organizing victories for hundreds of thousands of workers around the globe. She played a central role in building SEIU. However the true greatness of Bonnie’s legacy is in the thousands of people whose lives she touched, the people she mentored, and those of us whom she often inspired to personally achieve more than we ever even dreamed was possible.
Bonnie’s legacy can be seen in the glowing faces of the organizers she taught and in the exuberance of the workers they are helping to unite in unions throughout the world. Her legacy also lives in the hearts of her friends, students and colleagues.
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